Hollible, just hollible

Seona Reid Building, addition to Glasgow School of Art (photo by Iwan Baan)

Seona Reid Building, addition to Glasgow School of Art (photo by Iwan Baan)

Steven Holl’s addition to the Glasgow School of Art, whose 1909 original by the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh is an icon of architects of every school, expresses the most profound disrespect for its neighbor. It eats one building and then trashes the old dear by mere proximity. The new building has been called “criminal” by commenters on the TradArch list, and my outrage only begins with that word.

Hugh Pearman’s review of the addition is the sheerest tripe.

The thing should be pilloried by locals who understand that this form of architecture is designed to belittle them and make their lives worse. Yes, designed to do so. Modern architects have so internalized wearing the dislike of the public as a feather in their caps that they go out of their way to disoblige what Roger Scruton called the “disenfranchised majority of building users,” who walk by it, look in its direction, and pray for their eyes to be plucked out.

So I say yes, Glaswegians, pillory the building literally with stones. You will be heroes. I say this with considerable chagrin, having not heaved a stone at the GTECH Building in Providence, which deserves the same treatment. Words apparently have no effect on the reprobates who design this sort of criminal architecture. They are proud to be bastards. If their actions were denominated by society in blood or treasure, they would already be in jail.

I’ve subsequently posted an addendum on “tripe.”

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Hollible, just hollible

  1. Cool post! Reminds me little bit of this building from the 70’s in Prague, overlaping this old one. 🙂
    http://psychosomaticallyinlove.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/socialistic-realism-architecture-in-prague-1967-74/

    Like

  2. Interesting phrase, mooncast shadow. But, Peter, does that mean GTECH is better or worse than the Granoff Center?

    Like

  3. David, the GTECH is a mooncast shadow compared to the Granoff Center.

    Like

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